I shot my mouth off about Elmo to my kids and the rest of you so I felt obligated to go to his show. The kids left the lights on in the van so the battery died and I spent the morning pulling our Jeep up on the lawn to jump it. After I drove it a few miles on the highway I came home and got the kids dressed. It was 10:30 by the time I made it to the bookstore. They said the tickets were all gone. It turns out the tickets were just for the privilege of standing in line to put your kids on the monster's lap. We thought of the event as more of a circus side-show so lap-sitting was not important to us.
If you don't stand in line, you can basically walk right up to Elmo. Elmo was a 6 foot, expressionless dude who was isolated on a bench in a roped off corner. I heard children younger than mine asking, "why doesn't he talk?" You would think a professional could talk. Apparently, you can be a professional so long as you have the capacity to sit and wave. That gives me hope for my own professional career. Maybe it was a professional mime or something. It would have been more entertaining to see Elmo trapped in an invisible box or walking against the wind or something.
I myself was a rarity: the only dad in the bookstore. The rest was pushy moms and scattering kids; maybe a couple of grandparents. There was a lot of hype for this. I'm sure it's much cooler the way the organizers picture it in their heads. Kids don't like to stand in line. Kids don't like to sit and be quiet while you read them a story while a creepy guy in an Elmo costume sits quietly, quarantined behind you.